Secured by Design: SSL Now as Standard Across all GP Websites

Secure Socket Layer (SSL)

Tree View Designs is delighted to announce that as of July 2017, all newly launched websites will be provided with added protection courtesy of Secure Socket Layer encryption. The technology, designed to safeguard information sent across the internet, will also be integrated into all existing customers' websites at no additional cost.

Not only will the SSL protection cover the website itself, but also the control panel used to manage the content, which means enhanced protection both for the GP practice itself, and for the patients using the website.

Secure Socket Layer (SSL) is becoming increasingly important for all organisations with an online presence. Today's internet users are generally clued up about security due to the high volume of media coverage and regular communications from financial institutions and other such organisations that warn of online risks such as phishing and fake websites. Because of this, website owners are keen to use whatever methods they can to protect and reassure their visitors.

SSL is one such method, and for the GP website it offers even further benefits which are set out later in this article. But first, let's take a look at precisely what SSL is, and how it works.

 

What is Secure Socket Layer?

You can tell where SSL is in use on a website by looking for the padlock icon at the top of your internet browser. Also, when the address of the website you are on starts with https rather than just http, this is another sign that SSL is in operation.

SSL has been widely used for some time on the websites of banks and building societies where it is particularly important to protect the data being input by the user. Instead of passwords, customer numbers and other such login details crossing from the user's computer to the bank's server in the format in which they were input, they are encrypted, in other words disguised as they travel. This means that if a hacker does somehow gain access to the information, its true identity will not be revealed.

Online shoppers are also primed these days to ensure the website they are making purchases from is secure before entering any payment information.

Awareness of SSL is now so widespread that website users are actively seeking out signs of its presence, even when they are not sharing personal or financial information. The padlock icon and https create a feeling of reassurance and trust, confirming that the user is in a safe place, which is why it is imperative for the GP website to follow suit, hence the decision by Tree View Designs to offer this added value service to each and every one of its customers.

 

The Benefits of SSL for the GP Website

As mentioned, there are numerous benefits to securing a website using SSL technology.

  Trust and Reassurance

We have already mentioned that SSL acts to reassure website users.

These days, phishing (the process of tricking people into handing over personal data, login details or payment information for criminal use) is worryingly widespread. In addition, there are enormous numbers of fake websites that have been set up to look like those of well-known brands but that are, in reality, covertly mining information for use in identity theft or card cloning operations.

As a GP practice, the last thing you want to do is have patients feeling insecure when they are browsing your website and in particular, when they are sending information through it. If they are able to see that SSL is in use, then they will feel reassured and confident in using the site, which means they will not feel the need to call the surgery or visit in person instead. It will also mean that for new patients, they will not make the decision to move off to an alternative GP website that they do feel safe using.

Incidentally, all the online forms that are incorporated into Tree View Designs GP websites have always been secured with encryption. Now however, there is even more added protection with the entire website and control panel working on SSL.

So there we have as major benefits visitor trust, reassurance and the assurance for your practice that your GP website will be used by patients as you intended, so that you are able to enjoy its administrative time saving advantages.

 Improved Search Engine Rankings

There is little point to a GP website if it cannot be quickly found by search engine users. If new patients cannot find your practice online when looking for a new surgery to join, one of your key objectives will be missed. Similarly, if existing patients find it a challenge to locate your website, this will not help the practice reputation.

Good search engine positions are crucial for any organisation, so if there is anything that can be done to give those positions a boost, it is always worthwhile.

Websites that hold an SSL certificate are rewarded by Google with enhanced rankings.

Security has always been a top priority for Google. On the search engine's Webmaster Central Blog, it says that Google has the aim of making the internet safer across the board, as well as for users of its own websites. They say that a significant part of this aim is 'making sure that websites people access from Google are secure' and have called for 'HTTPS everywhere on the web'.

Since this statement was made, Google has confirmed that HTTPS is now used as a ranking signal, which means that sites encrypted with SSL will receive extra 'points' and therefore improved rankings.

 Safer Website Management

With your GP website control panel also secured using SSL, you can rest assured that all user names and passwords of the practice staff responsible for managing the website will be encrypted as they travel between your computers and our servers. This safeguarding is of course vital in order to protect the information held within your website's content management system.

 

Secure GP Websites for all, Courtesy of Tree View Designs

If you are an existing customer of Tree View Designs, or are currently having a GP website designed by our team, you can rest assured that it will be secured by design at no extra cost.

If on the other hand you are thinking about having a GP website designed for your practice and are in the process of sourcing a web designer, make sure you choose one that offers SSL across all elements, including the website itself, and the control panel. If you'd like a quote for a new GP website, we invite you to get in touch, and we look forward to helping you create a website that is safe for all who use it.

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